Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Outside on the Inside: Pop Montreal 2007

Pop pop pop pop pop pop! So much to take in, so little time. A common thread amongst the festival; yet, like scratching further below the mountain of McGill, an alternative word to 'time' might be 'access'. Just inquisite upon those who volunteered for a pass, only sparing their time to be harassed. It seemed the stiff arm of the festival came down on all wearing the purple wristband, regarded more as a lame fashion accessory. While Pop is quickly growing to assimilation's with SXSW, the perils of which sound appetizing, the results are drastically devastating. Being rejected at the venue doorstep has become the norm, forcing music-goers to scratch off the top sought acts and/or prioritize to simply one show a night.

Not here to fault festival at not seeking larger alternative venues, those currently housing the festival are one of a kind. Rather, I want the axe to fall on the allowance of attendance abuse by suedo volunteers. The secret is out, all it takes to gain a wristband to shows is signing up to lend a lie in the production of the events. Hence, as doors open each night, the over-abundance of aid disappears and crowds through the venue gates, quickly filling the wristband quota and blocking out what approaches the majority. To criticize without solution would be lame,...have volunteers put down a deposit (same price as bracelet on its own). If the volunteer fulfills their duties, than the deposit is returned, if they skip out on their responsibilities than they bought their ticket to the festival just like all others attending.

One could hack on endlessly to glue the rips in an enormous event such as this, but in all essence, it best is as is, the dis-organization curates last minute madness and frantic desires, the numbered crowds spark interest and attention, the seemingly unknown artists become known, the distance between venues becomes an adventure, the conflicting schedule leads to acceptance and appreciation of what is ultimately undertaken. Than again, one can plan. And I'm here to spread the word about what was made a point of and alternatively what came to fruition. If you haven't yet, get a hold of: Hot Springs, Zoobombs, Kinetic Stereokids, Jesse Dangerously and Fujiya & Miyagi. Out of which, a pair were fortunate surprises and the other handful exceeded expectation. On a larger scale, 'Pop Montreal 2007' swept old dusty curtains off a few neglected legendary and/or monumental acts: Cody Chesnutt, Half Japanese, Gary Lucas, Fred Wesley and Patti Smith.*

And while the single city, multi-venue festival might reap endless similarities and comparison to others alike, the originality was felt and left to ponder: why aren't there more afternoon shows round the world? why can't we always limit to a 10 minute break between artists? why not more rock n roll shows in churches? why not 4 artists on a billing? why can't we turn more haunted, rundown old age homes into venues hosting a house party featuring James Brown's former Trombone player?

Finally, why not allow more purple bracelets?

(In dedication to friends blocked out of Caribou, Sunset Rubdown, Patti Smith, The National and A-Trac)

* All of which were boldly humanized whilst accompanied to and from the airport. Whether it entailed: borrowing $100 off my job deprived self, revealing their fear of ever having to smoke marijuana, my making a 'Ryan Adams' fan out of a 'Jeff Buckley' collaborator (simply playing 'love is hell pt. 1'), unveiling their stripped down grumpy old self, or almost being stranded at the airport while their passport sat comfortably in my car trunk.(respectively)


Vivian said...

Great review. I hope Pop fixes the bracelet problem for the years to come, it was such a disappointment. At least we still managed to have a great time checking out all the different venues all over the place.

ps- what time did you get to bed??! haha.

Tiiu said...

aaron, thanks for filling in the folks who couldn't go. sounds like a busy/interesting experience. experience. i hope you're well. also, korea? wha hap?